The sun shone on the second stage taking the competitors from Tunis to Oued Mellah…
The 60 km of special stage posed few problems, just the occasional close encounters with some cactus for a few and a problematic deviation for the lead riders. Finally, in the bike class Marc Coma took the victory ahead of David Casteu and Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez. In the cars the BMWs chased each other. After Guerlain Chicherit yesterday it was the turn of Orlando Terranova to win the special ahead of Leonid Novitskiy in the 3rd BMW X3. Nicolas Misslin takes the third place in his Mitsubishi MPR13, 10 seconds ahead of Christian Lavieille in his Proto Dessoude.
A special stage of 60 kilometres, technical, twisty and slippery through the cactus and the puddles – today’s programme on the 27th Rallye OiLibya de Tunisie. A detour put in place by the organisers, so as to avoid a field, caused a few problems, with certain losing precious minutes, though of course the race has only just begun…
In the bike class Marc Coma remains calm in the knowledge that only a few kilometres have so far been raced. Taking the lead today is no guarantee of victory in 8 days time… In the 450 class Olivier Pain also got a little lost, while Luca Manca pulled off the exploit of the day. The tough Italian takes the class lead and finishes 4th on the special. Christian Califano got a ton of dust in his eyes which bothered him for much of the day. Virginie Premat, the only lady rider on two wheels, crossed the line with several bits of cactus artistically stuck to her helmet.
On the quads Lionel Laine increases his overall lead over Karim Dilou while the Russian Vladimir Marugov and the Italian Camelia Liparoti are neck and neck after Camelia got lost on the going.
Quotes of the day…
Marc COMA – KTM – 1ST
A nice first special. Tomorrow I think it will start to get a little tougher. We are only at the start of the race.
David CASTEU – KTM – 2nd
Nice to be back on a track, ‘cos since Dakar I haven’t raced at all. As always it takes a little time to get back into the road book, but everything went fine.
Luca MANCA – 1st 450 cc – 4th
A good first day on the piste. I am very happy because the bike worked perfectly. My goal on this rally is to win the 450 class and why not get on to the overall podium.
Cyril DESPRES – KTM
Not a great day. During the special a policeman sent me the wrong way and I lost a lot of time - something which doesn’t make me exactly happy.
Alessandro DE PETRI – KTM
What a pleasure to be back on an African piste. My old bones are arching a little, but apart from that I feel great.